Meet the owner of September’s Office of the Month, Dr. David Hill
Connie, registered dental assistant hired in 2003 upon graduation. Worked in Dr.
Connie, registered dental assistant hired in 2003 upon graduation. Worked in Dr. Hill’s office during a clinical rotation. Has two daughters and a son.
Toshua, registered dental assistant hired in 2003 upon graduation and after clinical rotation in the office. A hard worker who spreads laughter.
Marilyn, dental hygienist with 25 years of experience. An always smiling mother to two boys who has worked for Dr. Hill nearly five years.
Amanda, bookkeeper/receptionist to Dr. Hill for three years. Pursuing degree in organizational management. Keeps records easy to find.
Susan, dental hygienist. Never meets a stranger, according to Dr. Hill, her boss of nearly seven years. Has four children. Previously an assistant.
Teresa, receptionist/insurance coordinator. Brings 20 years of experience to the business. Also a registered dental assistant. Mother to three boys.
Betty, patient-turned-receptionist of two years. A talented artist and outgoing people person who patients and staff members enjoy working with.
Hill Family Dental:
W. DAVID HILL, DDS, PA
ADDRESS: 7517 Warden Road
Sherwood, AR 72120
PHONE: (501) 834-4066
WEB SITE: www.smilemagic.com
Big-city cosmetic dentists practically sing a song about how liberating it is to own an insurance-free dental boutique. That song hasn’t become a hit in a bedroom community of 22,000 near Little Rock, Ark. You see, Wal-Mart’s international headquarters is just a hog call to the west, and subsequently, many residents of the state expect exceptional quality at fair prices - especially regarding dental care.
“I’ve got a core group of patients I’ve had for years, and at the same time, here I am trying to emphasize the cosmetic side,” says Dr. W. “David” Hill, 47, of Sherwood. “Patients in my area are generally part of hard-working families on budgets. I also provide top-notch personal care to upper-income patients.”
Dr. Hill didn’t want to turn away insurance patients or become too elite in a small city where general dentistry is still the bread and butter. He built a 3,600-square-foot office that beckons workday commuters on the nearby freeway and reflects his esthetic-driven craft. Meanwhile, he retains needs-based patients by continuing to accept most insurance.
“I built an office where a CEO can come in and know he or she’s getting top-quality care, and a family of four feels at home here, too,” Dr. Hill says. “It’s even easier for me to present cosmetics here than it was renting the old building. It’s hard to tell people about cosmetic dentistry when you’re in an outdated building that needs maintenance.”
Red brick exterior
In other words, if you’re pushing visual perfection, your work space should be as comfortable and pleasing as your product. Dr. Hill expected to gain new patients after relocating, but he didn’t expect their common explanation.
“I’ve got patients who wouldn’t go to the dentist because they saw us building and wanted to wait until we were open,” he says.
Dr. Hill avoided alienating patients by encouraging the staff to make patients aware of new services. He says that in return, longtime patients now request cosmetic work.
“We kind of did what most dentists don’t do,” he says. “We went for visibility and access, which is what most businesses except for dental offices do. We’re right off the freeway.
“We do some advertising, and we’re in the Yellow Pages. During the construction, I got sidetracked and didn’t do a lot of advertising. With the new facility and big sign, I haven’t had to do a lot. We’ve gotten back a lot of patients who drifted away, too. I don’t know if they’re coming to see the new office, but I’m glad they’ve returned.”
Before Dr. Hill began hiring contractors for his new office, he visited dental and medical offices in surrounding states. He borrowed ideas, especially from women, who often select medical providers for their families.
“I took my digital camera everywhere from Dallas and Tennessee to Missouri and Oklahoma,” Dr. Hill says. “I tried to find out what women like. They like an antique red brick; they don’t like brown brick. They like shingles and a hip roof. For columns, they’d rather see round than brick. Men and children also feel at home because it’s casual and relaxing and doesn’t have a clinical feel to it.”
Interior designer Kerry Allen advised Dr. Hill on the fabrics, finishes, and colors - a mossy sage green and earthy terra cotta - but Dr. Hill designed the office.
“I had help from people, but basically I coordinated the whole design,” he says. “I built it big enough to bring another doctor in during the next year. Right now it’s just me.”
Dr. Hill looks forward to hiring an associate because business continues to grow. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and alternating Fridays. The extra workload sometimes cuts into the Memphis-born doctor’s saxophone time. He plays tenor and alto saxophone in a classic rock band called Rock Solid.
“I used to take Fridays off, so I’m working some of those days. That’s a nice problem to have,” he says. “I think I’m doing all the procedures I want to do. My long-term goal with the practice is to bring someone else in so I can concentrate on what I like doing and take more time off.
“Back when I started, I worked with a couple of established dentists. We complemented each other in regard to the types of dentistry we performed, and that worked well. That’s part of the reason I built a large office. If you’re a one-man office, you have to be there 50 weeks of the year. You’ve got to at least cover the overhead. I knew when I moved I’d have to be able to handle the volume.
“I learned from 9/11 that you can’t forget your core patients when you find a niche. Those dentists who did were really hurting after that. Cosmetic and implant patients weren’t very interested for a while.”
Dr. Hill, a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., and the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry, began focusing on cosmetic procedures in 1996 after he attended a course taught by Drs. Bill Dickerson and Larry Rosenthal at Baylor College of Dentistry. Next he studied under the direction of Dr. Joe Blaes and learned from David Block of Aesthetic Porcelain Studios. In addition, he obtained certification in conscious sedation.
“We’re doing a lot of larger cases now, but I’ve still got my core. If that and building the new office were not enough,” Dr. Hill says, “I started placing dental implants. We’ve got a really good implant doctor in town, Dr. Donald Callan. I spend a lot of time with him.”
Dr. Hill and his staff work from five operatories, but he built the new space hoping to equip three more operatories as the need arises. Each dental chair faces a window, and patients see few instruments or dental equipment during procedures.
“We put a lot of thought into that,” Dr. Hill says. “We made it non-dental, and I tried to make it as relaxing as I could. We came from an old office where everything had to sit on the counter.”
An indoor rock waterfall built by Dr. Hill and a patient lends a natural look. In addition, the hygienists added water features to their rooms for a soothing sound.
“My hygienists read about spa dentistry,” Dr. Hill says. “They also have massage cushions in their chairs. No matter how nervous patients are, we have a way to solve it, from nitrous to conscience sedation.”
Dr. Hill selected the building’s materials according to their calming qualities.
“I didn’t use marble or things like that because I didn’t want anyone to feel intimidated,” he says.
Can lights in the lobby’s ceiling highlight cosmetic before-and-after photos and photos from Dr. Hill’s travels throughout France, British Columbia, and even Arkansas. When he’s not at work or playing with Rock Solid in nearby Hot Springs, he’s on the lake, in the woods, or scuba diving. The office reflects that love of nature.
“I like the open feel of it,” he says. “Before, we were in an old office in a shopping center with few windows. This office brings the outside indoors. It’s such a relief after being in that other one.”
Practicing in a small community means almost everyone knows about Dr. Hill’s new location, which has been open nearly a year.
“Anyone who comes here gets a warm welcome,” he says. “We usually know someone in common, and we pretty much connect with everyone. Our patients don’t feel like they’ve been run through an assembly line. We learn about our new patients and find out what we can do to make their experiences better. I’ve got one assistant and one hygienist who know everybody.”
His staff includes hygienists Marilyn and Susan, assistants Connie and Toshua, and receptionists Amanda, Teresa, and Betty.
Already, Dr. Hill and the staff are anticipating upgrades.
“My budget got a little tight during construction, so I don’t have a digital X-ray yet. We’re going to add digital later this year,” he says. “We have computers and flat-screen monitors in all the operatories, and we run Data Team software. I’ve got extra cable and conduit running to the rooms, so we’re ready to upgrade.”
In addition, one room houses equipment for DSL, video and computer networks, the electric box, phone and sound systems, and CAESY patient education system.
“It’s all on a rolling cart, so basically it’s like a media center. It makes it handy for everyone involved,” Dr. Hill says. “I built an office that allows me to make the practice what I want. We’ve done things differently.”
As long as he has an audience, he’ll sing that song.
AUTOCLAVE/STERILIZERS: Statim, Tuttnauer
BIPOLAR ELECTROSURGERY UNIT: Bident Bipolar Surgical System
BLEACHING: Zoom!™ Whitening System
CAMERAS: Canon Digital Rebel XT SLR, Norman Camera Company; Pentax ZX 35mm SLR, PhotoMed International
CHAIRS: Marus Dental International
COMPRESSORS: Apollo Dental Products Inc.
COMPUTER SOFTWARE: Data Team DDS
CURING LIGHTS: Vector, Litex, plasma arc units
CUSTOM CABINETS: Jerry Hill Cabinets, North Little Rock, Ark.
DELIVERY UNITS: Ampco
HANDPIECES: Vector, Star
IMPLANT/ENDODONTIC HANDPIECES: Nouvag
LAB HANDPIECE: Vector
NITROUS/OXYGEN SYSTEMS: Matrx
OPERATORY LIGHTS: Pelton & Crane
PATIENT EDUCATION SYSTEM: CAESY Education Systems
STOOLS: Napa Dental Products
ULTRASONIC: BioSonic® Ultrasonic Cleaning Systems
VACUUM: Matrx recirculating
VITAL SIGNS MONITORS: Criticare
X-RAY UNITS: Instrumentarium, Gendex
Hill Family Dental
FACILITY DESIGN: Jim Archer Sr.
Archer And White Dental Sales
Plano, Texas - (866) 669-0211
INTERIOR DESIGNER: Kerry Allen North Little Rock, Ark. - (501) 690-5201